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About Governance Studies

Viewed as a leading, independent voice in the domestic policymaking sphere, the Governance Studies program at Brookings is dedicated to analyzing policy issues, political institutions and processes, and contemporary governance challenges. Our scholarship identifies areas in need of reform and proposes specific solutions to improve governance worldwide, but with a particular emphasis on the United States. The program is directed by Darrell M. West and is home to over 60 resident and non-resident scholars with diverse backgrounds, research interests, and areas of expertise. Learn more about our scholars by visiting our Experts page.

Program Goals

  • Improve the performance of the national government to benefit all people.
  • Inform policy debates and raise awareness and efficacy of executive actions.
  • Provide policymakers with expert analysis, cutting-edge research, and policy ideas to ensure better institutional governance.

Program Centers

Governance Studies is home to three research centers:

  • The Brown Center on Education Policy, which conducts empirical research and provides policy recommendations on topics in education.
  • The Center for Effective Public Management, which identifies and proposes solutions to political and governance challenges in 21st century America.
  • The Center for Technology Innovation, which enhances understanding of technology’s legal, economic, social, and governance ramifications, and helps shape public debate on technology innovation in the U.S. and around the world.

Areas of Focus

Governance Studies scholars study and have expertise in a wide array of topics. Our experts examine the following areas of vital national concern, among others, with the goal of establishing an agenda for institutional reform in the U.S. and globally:

  • The presidency
  • The U.S. House and Senate, including procedural policy and abuse
  • Political polarization
  • Public participation in the electoral and redistricting processes
  • The intersection of religion, policy, and politics
  • Filling vacancies in the executive and judicial branches
  • The presidential appointment process
  • Budgeting
  • Health care
  • Leadership in the modern age
  • Education reforms such as school choice, teacher evaluation systems, and class size
  • Investments in manufacturing and critical infrastructure
  • Technology innovation policies
  • Cybersecurity and cyber-espionage threats
  • Privacy in a digital world
  • Forging a coherent strategy toward trying and detaining terror suspects, researching legal architecture of the War on Terror as it develops into case law

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